Kurt Warner: “I’m way beyond the point where I’m going to try to prove I’m better than Brett Favre.”December 8, 2009 – 10:31 am by Michael Bean
The Arizona Cardinals emphatically reminded the NFL on Sunday night why they represented the NFC in last year’s Super Bowl. By thrashing the previously red hot Minnesota Vikings 30-17, the Cardinals improved to 8-4 and increased their lead out West to three games over both the Seahawks and the 49ers. Kurt Warner, who of course had sat out the previous week’s game (a loss) at Tennessee, returned in fine fashion, throwing 3 TDs and totally outdueling his veteran counterpart Brett Favre.
Warner joined XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix on Monday to talk about the big win, how he wasn’t exactly in the zone but still felt good, how his concussion symptoms have largely subsided, and how he even suggested to the Cardinals coaching staff that they implement a new offensive package to exploit what he perceived to be a weakness in Minnesota’s defense.
On if Sunday night’s game was one of those where he felt like he was really in the zone:
“You know, I felt good; I didn’t feel great last night. I felt like we had a good plan, I thought the guys up front did a great job allowing me to go through my reads, get the ball out quick. I don’t think it was one of those great games, but I felt good and I felt like we got good shots down the field, which always makes life easier when you can get 20, 30, 40 yard shots to shorten up the field and shorten up some drives.”
On what aspect of the win he thought was most impressive:
“I think there’s no question that you’re most excited about the line play – both offensively and defensively. The pressure on Favre, forcing him to make mistakes, which he hasn’t done a lot this year. Offensively, against that front four – which I think leads the league in sacks – to shut them down the way that we did – I think they had no sacks – I think that was, no question, the key to the game and the most impressive part of the whole performance.”
On when he knew he was going to play Sunday night and how he felt differently this week compared to the previous week when he opted to sit out:
“I felt like I was going to play from Friday on. We’d really been cleared, doctors felt good, barring anything going backwards – I didn’t expect with the way everything had progressed up to that point – so I was planning on playing. So I went home and was watching some film on Saturday afternoon, I actually gave coach kind of a new package that I really thought after watching film could be effective for us. And so I was watching it Saturday afternoon and I was just getting excited. I just had a good read on what they were doing even though they were doing a lot of different things to us than they’ve done in the past, or what they’re accustomed to doing week in and week out. I just started getting excited about the game. And after a week off, that tends to happen. You get itching a little bit, you can’t wait for the game, but of course you got to wait until Sunday night. But at the same time, I don’t want to say fear, but there was some apprehension going in with the head injury and all of that. And I think all of that together – the built up anxiety and the excitement – it was just go out and focus and play.”
On how he feels physically today after the very physical Sunday night game that saw him take a number of big hits even though he wasn’t sacked:
“I got out good. Obviously the big concern was taking some hits and making sure there was no setback in regards to the concussion and those symptoms. I actually feel better today than I did going in to the game in that regard. I did take a late hit on my hip – I guess we’re classifying it as a kind of hip pointer. It’s definitely sore today, but it’s a lot better today than it was last night. I was struggling with it a little bit last night; it’s a lot better today. Outside of that, I’m actually pretty good. They kept me clean for the most part. It was definitely a physical game, guys were battling and fighting. I’m sure a lot of people are feeling it today, but you know, that’s what happens in those kind of games against football teams. And it was a fun game to be a part of.”
On if there’s any added excitement going in to a game like last night’s against another legendary quarterback like Brett Favre:
“Absolutely not. I had a coach come up to me this week and say something to that regard – ‘I hope you can play, it’s Favre vs. Warner.’ And to me, I just kind of looked back and said it’s the Cardinals vs. the Vikings. You know, it really doesn’t mean anything. I don’t even think about who that guy is on the other side of the field when we’re playing. I’m thinking about the defense stopping them and getting the ball back so I can go out and play. And it’s not about two guys. I know marquee matchups, they love to do that kind of stuff. But so many more factors in every given game – I’m way beyond the point where I’m going to try to prove I’m better than Brett Favre. Or you know, that I can go out and have a better game than some guy on the other team. That stuff doesn’t matter to me. What I want to do is keep winning, I want to win championships, and that’s how I’m going to be remembered. And that’s really all that matters.”
On the electric atmosphere inside the Cardinals home stadium on Sunday night:
“It felt great. It felt a lot like the run last year. And so much of that – I think the fans have been there every week. I mean, I think they’ve shown up since whenever it was last year or maybe even a couple of years ago when that place just got rolling. I mean, they’ve been there every week. The problem is we haven’t shown up every time at home. And last night we did. So, you couple that kind of performance and that kind of intensity on the field, with the same thing off the field with the fans doing what they do. And the cool thing was, pre-game the Vikings were running out, and you’re seeing all the purple and you’re seeing all the white, and you’re seeing all the people screaming for the Vikings. But I tell you what – I didn’t hear them once once the game started. And that speaks a lot to what our fans are all about. They drowned them out even though there was a big contingent. That didn’t effect anything. They were still a huge factor, they were still an energy we fed off of, and it was cool, because that’s what it’s going to take down the stretch and hopefully in to the playoffs, and hopefully with a couple home games – you know, we’re going to need them as we always do and we’ve just got to couple their intensity with our own.”